I fished this week in the mornings at Masemore, and didn’t see any anglers before 10 AM. Small caddis and ants were producing fish in the riffles above the bridge. The Acid Ant pattern we have in the shop was really working well I think due to the sparkle under the wing, Alex and I fished on Thursday morning and saw tons of flying ants on the windshield of his car so we decided to fish the flat water using a very small black ant pattern, 7X was the key along with a 14 foot leader and light rod. Nymphing with caddis pupas also produced in the deeper water. I’m fishing the Winston BIIX 3 weight which is a perfect summer rod for the Gunpowder because of its versatility. I can cast small dries without its butt stifness interfering with the light tippet, and the stiffer butt helps flip out nymphs and indicators. Fishing smaller streamers really isnt even a problem with the rod since the boron butt really helps with the heavier flies. With terrestrials and tricos coming up, I test cast one of the Sweetgrass Mantra Rods, and it would be perfect for flipping out small ants and beetles. The softness of the bamboo makes casting truly effortless, and fighting fish is that much more fun because you can feel it all the way to the butt of the rod. It’s been pretty hot, but wet wading has made the heat more barable. I’d recommend getting out in the mornings and evenings to avoid the midday heat.
The Gunpowder River is flowing at 37 CFs and is 55 degrees at the Falls Road bridge. Wet wading is an option in the shin to knee deep water, as air temps reach the upper 80s and 90s. Conditions in the upper miles of the Gunpowder are similar to spring creek fishing. Low, clear water and wary browns require stealth, long leaders and delicate casts. The anglers who enjoy sight fishing will find the trout are easy to spot in these lower flows. While walking the river I spotted dozens of trout, and quite a few browns in the 10-15 inch range. In many cases the browns were holding close to the bank in very shallow water. I also noticed some trout holding a few inches under the surface, inspecting small insects floating past. Small midges, BWOs and trico patterns are catching trout on the surface. Zebra midges, WD-40s, and other similar patterns sized 20-24 under small indicators work great in riffles. The shop recently received a large shipment of hoppers, beetles, and various ant patterns that will produce over the next few months. In the latest video post I filmed a number of browns in shallow water, and a great blue heron looking for a meal in a riffle.
Fly fishing warm water gives anglers a chance to experience completely different situations than cold water fishing. Insect hatches tend to not be something of importance on warm water, but I witnessed another type of “hatch” over a month ago. Thousands and thousands of small tadpoles covered the shorelines of the reservoir, and looked like peppercorns scattered across the sandy bottom. Weeks later I returned and found that these small tadpoles matured, and were everywhere along the shoreline. It appeared as though the ground was moving, as I stepped along the water’s edge. I filmed while trying to avoid stepping on the tiny, leaping amphibians. In the latest video post I shot footage of an uncommon sight while warm water fly fishing.
We now have short and long sleeved, “Mary K the Fish Lady” Backwater Angler Brown trout t-shirts available in both short, ($24.00) and long sleeved, ($26.00) versions. The shirts are screen printed with a beautiful brown trout on the back and the Backwater Angler logo on the front left chest. They are pre-shrunk 100% cotton and are a bit oversized. We have sizes Medium, Large and Extra Large in stock. If you have a Visa or Mastercard handy, buy Backwater Angler t-shirts online and have them shipped to your address in a jiffy. If you need a gift certificate for gear, fly fishing schools, tying lessons or guide trips, we are happy to email a gift certificate to you or a loved one during normal business hours: Weekdays 10AM-6PM and Saturday and Sunday 8AM-4PM.
Summer hasn’t officially arrived in Baltimore County, but we got a taste of the heat this past week. Fortunately the recent gate changes and increased flows from Prettyboy Dam have dropped water temperatures 8-10 degrees. In the upper miles the water temperature is a chilly 52 degrees, although a few miles downriver may see temps reach 55 degrees. Yesterday the water was well below 60 degrees at Montkon, and was only 62 degrees as far down as Glencoe Rd. The Gunpowder has miles of fishable water, flows in the 82 CFs range and sections offering a variety of water holding wild trout. Recent trips and days fishing in the upper sections yielded trout on caddis and BWOs, while nymphing is always a great trout catching technique. Terrestrials are starting to get the attention of trout along the shoreline. Earlier this week I noticed a lot of brown trout were holding just off the banks, inches under the surface. These browns are looking for a meal to fall off nearby branches, and can be fooled with an ant, flying ant or beetle pattern. In the latest video post I shot some footage of a typical brown caught on a caddis, and one brown I filmed hovering under the surface. The rest of the video includes some footage Max and I shot yesterday while floating the Gunpowder. We nymphed some deep riffles, but mainly threw streamers and caught wild browns and holdover rainbows. We didn’t land any large trout, but the action was great early in the day. We had cool air coming off the river, nice weather and the added bonus of never seeing another angler, boater or tuber all day.
The flows on the Gunpowder are at great levels at 91 Cfs, and a gate change yesterday released more cold water. A slight increase in flow from the bottom is negating the warm spillover, so temps are down in the 56-58 degree range in the upper miles of river. Yesterday I wet a line down at Sparks Rd and the water temp was 65 degrees at 3 pm. The Gunpowder has over fourteen miles of fishable water, and wild browns looking for a meal. In the different sections of river anglers will encounter different hatches. In the upper sections the sulphurs are still hanging on, but the action is very late in the evening. A few anglers mentioned seeing an emergence midday on Thursday, and trout eating the duns. Tricos are starting to appear in small clouds by 12 pm, but not in the big numbers we will see later in the Summer. Blue wing olives can be seen even on bright days, but the cloudy, rainy days are the best for this hatch. In the middle-lower sections of river there are stonefly shucks on the rocks and light cahills hatching. Terrestrials are already catching fish, and flying ants are working under overhanging branches. Streamers are also a great way to search for larger trout, especially in the lower sections of the river. In the latest video post I filmed a light cahill, BWO spinner and a sulphur spinner with egg sack attached. I also included a minute of rising trout that can be found along miles of river. The rising trout may not be big, but for dry fly enthusiasts there are plenty of fish working the surface during the day.
I’ve obviously spent a good deal of time on the warm water scene from my recent posts and videos. A few anglers have sent in their own reports, or stopped by to let us know they have had success fishing for these big fish. Other anglers have had a hard time getting these finicky fish to eat a fly. There is no secret fly, and no sure fire approach to catching carp. On an average day I will make dozens and dozens of casts to fish that seem completely and totally uninterested in eating a fly. Varying the retrieve, pattern size and color doesn’t seem to help when dealing with fish that are clearly not hungry. Just when I’m ready to give up I find one fish that acts a little different than the rest. I’ve learned to disregard, or not bother casting to fish that don’t exhibit the “I’m looking for a meal” body language. In the latest video post I tried working some tailing fish on a muddy flat, but left for clearer water after an hour. In the second spot I cast to a dozen different carp that had no interest in my fly. The next fish cruising along the shoreline noticed my fly the moment it hit the water, and followed it to the bottom. The carp ate the fly and put up a great fight. I think this might be the biggest one I’ve landed this year, although there are many fish much larger in our local waters.
I’ve enjoyed the change of pace exploring warmer water in search of carp and other fish. The really bright, hot days that most trout anglers lament over are perfect for this type of fishing. It shouldn’t be long before these big fish will be taking bugs, seed pods and berries off the surface. “Clooping” is the term for carp feeding on the surface, and I’ve seen them do this often. If rising trout seem difficult to catch….try to get one of these brutes to eat a dry. I haven’t tried dry flies much, but know a few anglers who catch them on hoppers, beetles and other patterns. Larger nymphs imitating damselflies or dragonflies are good choices to present to fish in shallow water. A slightly larger size 8 olive zonker pattern tied with medium weight dumbbell eyes is one of my go-to patterns. I let the fly dive to the bottom 8-10 inches in front of a fish, and wait. I watch waterboatmen and other insects diving into the mud, which may explain why carp suddenly decide to start rooting around on the bottom. Recently I used this tactic where I dropped the fly in front of a fish, and let it sink to the bottom. No stripping, no twitching and the carp decided to dive down to inspect the fly. A flash of the white mouth, one hard strip set and the carp was hooked. This carp had numerous options to wrap me up, but I tightened up the drag and put on a lot of pressure. The fun is usually the long distance runs into the backing, but putting the brakes on a big fish can be exciting. In the latest video I put a good bend in the rod on this heavy carp.
The recent hot spell combined with heavy rains caused the river flows and temps to climb over this past weekend. Flows spiked from the mid 80 CFs to 120 CFs on Saturday. As a result water temps hit the high sixties due to an increase in spillover at Prettyboy Dam. We were just informed this morning that a gate change was made to release water from the fifty five foot gate, to bring the water temp down for the trout. Previously water was mixed from the ten and fifty five foot gate, but the additional spillover brought temps above the targeted temperature. The switch to fifty five feet will help bring the temp down into the fifties, even with some spillover. As the dam becomes fully operational over the next weeks, there are plans to release water to lower reservoir levels and prevent any further issues with warm spillover. The drop in temperature will help keep the fish active through the middle of the day, instead of the early and late spurts of activity we saw this past week. Sulphurs are still hanging on, but they are very small. A good emergence of pale duns sized 18-20 takes place after 8 pm, and get the trout active on the surface. Mornings are good for BWOs, and they are sized 22-24. Caddis are always a good choice on the Gunpowder from now through the Fall. Midges are great for the fish sipping or going airborne in the flat water pools. Terrestrials are catching fish against the bank and under overhanging branches during the heat of the day. Caddis pupa patterns are a great way to catch fish midday, and the shop has a wide selection. While other streams in the region become too warm for fishing, the Gunpowder’s ice cold flows will provide ideal conditions for trout fishing all Summer.
Please join us for a flyfishing school. On Saturday, July 10, a Backwater Angler Guide will be teaching a fly fishing school that is ideal for beginners. If you’re planning on fly fishing in Maryland, or anywhere else for that matter, this course is a great introduction to the sport. The school covers knots, casting, gear, fly selection and an hour of on-stream instruction. Schools are held in a meadow overlooking the Gunpowder river by a Maryland state licensed and insured fishing guide. Class is held from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM. Cost is $100 per person and includes the use of gear. A Maryland Non-tidal fishing license and trout stamp is required and may be purchased prior to the class with check or cash at the shop. Class size is limited to 4 and pre-payment is required. Please give us a call at 410-357-9557 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.